National Journal's Jonathan Rauch writes movingly of a cousin, Bill, his partner, Mike, and a life-threatening illness:
Having just been told, at 3 a.m., that his partner of three decades might die within hours, Mike Brittenback was told something else: Before rushing to Bill's side, he needed to collect and bring with him documents proving his medical power of attorney. This indignity, unheard-of in the world of heterosexual marriage, is a commonplace of American gay life.
People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn't have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.
By far the biggest factor driving the success of President Obama's agenda, and the political landscape in 2010 (which itself may determine how much Obama can do starting in 2001), is the unemployment rate. For quite a while, nearly everybody has been predicting unemployment to top 10%. The Wall Street Journal today makes a fairly convincing case that employment will bounce back strong. The most interesting point to me was the nature of job losses:
Even some of our most sophisticated commentators doubt a link between consumer protection and any macroeconomic outcomes. Consumer protection, in this view, is microeconomics and quite different from macroeconomic issues (such as the speed and nature of our economic recovery).
Officially measured interest rates are down from their height in the Great Panic of 2008-09 and the financial markets, broadly defined, continue to stabilize. But are retail credit conditions, i.e., the terms on which you can borrow, getting easier or tougher?
There's some evidence for it, unfortunately. What first seemed a real morale-booster for the U.S. and Pakistan could wind up a costly embarassment. But the truth is still murky.
Arguing (cheekily, one hopes) that "Palin had a point," Mickey links to this guy, a Cornell Law Professor named William Jacobson, who offers an embarassingly lame defense of Sarah Palin's use of the phrase "death panel," in quotation marks, in her Facebook attack on Obama's health care plan. Quoth the legal scholar: